New England Air Museum hosts Open Cockpit Day

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Windsor Locks - posted Thu., Jan. 23, 2014
Thirteen-year-old Matt Brewster enjoys getting the feel of the cockpit of an Air National Guard Simulator. Photos by Lisa Stone.
Thirteen-year-old Matt Brewster enjoys getting the feel of the cockpit of an Air National Guard Simulator. Photos by Lisa Stone.

Aviation enthusiasts of all ages flew to the New England Air Museum for the Open Cockpit Day on Jan. 19.

“Noah got to get in the cockpit of many planes,” said grandmother Lorraine Abdelmalek. Noah Holmes wore himself out by climbing in and out of several of the museum’s airplanes and helicopters during the day.

Even though Brendan Rogers is a charter pilot for New England Helicopter Company in Ellington, he was excited to be able to get inside the 190th Assault Helicopter. “I am moving to New Jersey in February. I will be working as a charter pilot in New York. I just had to come to this exhibit before I left,” said Rogers.

“We have at least seven of the Open Cockpit Exhibitions during the course of the year,” said NEAM Director of Visitor Services Gina Maria Alimberti. “This exhibit, we decided to have a plastic model activity for the guests to see and take part in as well. We also added a demonstration of remote-control airplanes that was put on by Time Machine Hobby Shop in Manchester. We try to have something for all age groups.”

Among the plastic model airplanes was a display set up by Cathye and Brian Knapp. “We have a wide arrangement of models,” said Brian. “We try to find as much information about the model that we build as possible. We have a WWII aircraft that also displays a pilot that was known to fly this plane. We try to bring the model to life as best we can. We also offer small-scale models for the younger crowd. If they want to get started in creating models and don’t want to spend much, we have a beginner’s kit.”

Greagory Shulman, of Darien, was very excited to be at the exhibit. According to his dad, William Shulman, “Greagory was so excited about coming here that this week he has been extra well-behaved. He asked to be excused from the breakfast table early and ran and got dressed by himself just so he would be ready on time.” Greagory came out of the cockpit of one of the many planes that allowed guests to sit in the pilot’s seat, and looked at his dad with a large smile on his face.

Matt Brewster sat in the cockpit of the static flight simulator of the Air National Guard. “There are a lot of Marines in my family,” said Brewster. “My grandfather, father and brother are all Marines. I’m not sure if I will be a Marine or any other service pilot, but I just wanted to see what it was like to sit in the cockpit of all of these planes. This is really cool.”

The New England Air Museum will host more Open Cockpit Days on Feb. 16 and March 16. The NEAM also offers activities during the February school vacation. For more information, visit or call 860-623-3305.

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